Thursday, September 8, 2011

Advice Needed: Thank You Notes

I hate thank you notes.  Not getting them...I love getting them...which makes me despise them even more since I KNOW I need to send them so other people can relish in the joy of receiving my heartfelt gratitude.  I used to be sooooo good at writing and sending thank you notes right away.  I even wrote our wedding thank-yous on our honeymoon (much to Phil's disappointment)!!  

I heard in a homily once that the priest's mother wouldn't let her children use/play/spend their gifts they had received until they wrote a thank you note.  I really like that idea.  

But in reality, I have five kids who can't completely write a thank you note and mail it all on their own and so now I have to write thank-yous for all seven of us in the family.  I do make John-Paul write his own short notes, and Andrew can write even briefer ones, but I still need to make them sit down and do it and then get them all ready to mail off.  It's such a chore, and one that I find plenty of reasons to postpone.  Even ironing sounds better.

Phil thinks I am so silly in even writing thank you notes to people who give us a gift in person.  He thinks when the intended recipient opens the gift and says "Thank You", that is sufficient.  I always thought only a hand-written note was appropriate, but in recent years have even slacked off and sent "Thank You Emails" instead of real cards.  

It's not that I'm not grateful for the gifts, we truly are, and my intentions are sincere about writing a thank you...but you know what they say about the best intentions and how they pave the road to hell.  

I want to teach my kids how important gratitude and manners are, and the best way to do this is through example, so I need to find a better system.  What do you all do for thank you notes?  Does a verbal thank you ever suffice?  How about an emailed thank you?  Or a phone call?  Please help this overwhelmed mom!


  1. There is something so personal and thoughtful about writing/receiving a hand written note.
    I am one of those Moms who makes the kids write the note before the gift is used.
    When they were little, I purchased those thank you notes that are made for lil' kids....they just fill in the blanks. They sell them at target. It makes it much easier and this is also a good time to teach them how to address an envelope.. ..Something they don't always teach in school anymore.

    Lo had tons of notes to write after graduation and she asked if she could use the 'fill in the blank' cards. NO!

  2. I always make the kids send thank you notes. But of course, I only have two kids so it's easier. However, I do have to force them to do it and I do have to hover over them until they get it done but they are getting better about it the more we do it.

    We don't follow the "you can't use it till you write a note" rule though. I just try to have them done within a two week period.

  3. i am terrible at it. ppl get my thankyou from christmas at easter etc...

    anyway--we just make the kids draw a picture (or scribble) and send that in the mail with a thank-you on the bottom written by me. I think both a verbal thankyou and a mailed note is what is expected per gift. I think its silly but its manners.

  4. Yeah, I think this is one of those "suck it up and hover over them until they finish" kind of deals. That's certainly what I have to do with everyone except Francie (and sometimes Fiver.) That still leaves a lot of thank-you note direction, and I do drag my feet.

    I just try to keep in mind how happy I feel when I get a note that lets me know if someone is enjoying a gift from us. I don't give gifts just to be thanked, of course, and I don't hold it against someone who can't/doesn't send thank-you notes, but it is an added touch to hear from the person.

    The only time I don't send written thank-yous are for Christmas gifts that are opened in front of the giver. My kids have those crazy, screaming happy reactions and then they hug people and thank them profusely, so I know the gift givers can see how much enjoyment they get from the gift. But if they receive something in the mail, I do make them send a thank-you.

    It's important for them to know how to write a sincere and properly worded thank-you, but it just requires a lot of direction for a long time.

  5. I always send thank you notes in the mail. Sure, it's a bit later now than it used to be, but I still send them, even if the gift was opened in front of the person. I don't send them for Christmas, but everyone that got us a gift for Annamarie has received one.

    I think it's important, and kind of becoming a lost art unfortunately.

  6. I used to be so good at thank you notes and b-day cards, til my 4th child, then life became crazy.

    I do always try to do it,I try to teach the kiddos to do it, but can't promise I've gotten to every one for them.

    One way that's easy after having a baby is post cards...cut cardstock into 4 pieces, and stamp something simple on one side and on the other side, write your very short "Thank you for the gift" and because it's so small, it's easier do do them quickly.

    I personally never keep track of who has sent their thank you to me, I like to get them of course, but I know how busy it can get. BUT, I do know people who wait for that thank you and really think it important.

    At one of my baby showers for my first baby, one of the ladies there told me the proper ediquette is if the gift giver is not present, then a hand written note is needed, if the gift giver is present, then a spoken thank you is all that is needed. But NO one follows that!!!

  7. I personally think it is important to send a hand written note. It is a pain in the arse.
    I do not think emails should be used AT ALL...imho.

    I have sent a gift to a godchild who is almost 17yrs old and have never received a thank you. Sometimes I wonder if she got them?

    it also depends who/what/where and why etc...

    I agree with the 5 kids. I need to take out a loan for stamps with all the cards and thankyous!

    happy writing!

  8. I do not believe thank you notes are necessary. Sure, they are sweet and receiving one never fails to make my day! But I think sometimes people, especially if they live far from you and don't get to see you very often, will much more appreciate a nice phone conversation than a short thank-you note, or even just a heartfelt thank you and a big hug when they give the present.

  9. Oh I need to start sending thank you notes when I get a thank you in the mail? No joke - my mom-in-law sent her son a thank you card for the thank you card he sent her. She is so polite, she would have gone back and forth for as long as he kept sending her one :)

    I'm terrible at thank you notes. I did them for our wedding because the gifts were quite expensive. Anything under $25 - meh...I don't worry about it. I have a HUGE stack of thank you cards to write for those who sent mass cards for my mom. I'm talking 40-50...just for the cards. Then there are the flowers, meals, etc. I'm a verbal thank-you'er but I wasn't really brought up to write thank you cards. Actually - my family is so big I never got gifts from aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Just too many of us. I think thank you cards are always well received even if they are super late. And I don't know if my kids will have to write them until they are older. I'm bad about remembering though!

  10. I never like writing thank you notes either, but now I write them out ASAP and send them so I don't end up forgetting. Hate to say it, but just grind your teeth and get it done. You'll feel so much better when you do. lol

  11. I am awful at thank you notes. But, I don't think it is because I am not a thankful person. I just hate writing, always have, always will. Confession- my wedding thank you's just went out a month ago (that would be 1 year and 2 months after our wedding) and my shower notes have not gone out yet (that would be 6 months after my shower). SO, the good news, is at least you can use me to make yourself feel better. ARGH. I hate thank you notes! And, I don't even really dig getting them (do I sound like a grinch), i'd rather see someone happy with the gift that I gave them. BUT, I know they are important to people, which is why I send them out...a year later:)

  12. Yeah, they aren't always fun, but I think they're important. I'm one of those moms who sets it aside until the note has been written OR adds "write thank yous" on my to-do list - and I keep adding it to my daily list every single day until its done. I also tell my kids before they get to use their new things, "We'll have to remember to write a thank you before we play with it too much."

    BUT, I have started adjusting my thank-you method - sometimes I think simple email thanks suffice, but not usually and not for things the kids received - they need to learn that, in my opinion. In fact, this reminds me that I desperately need to send a thank you to someone that I had meant to many weeks ago. Yikes!


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